In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In previous weeks we’ve been looking at how Christ was humbled in order to bring us salvation. We’ve seen that Christ was humiliated throughout his life on earth, by Judas’ betrayal and the disciples’ desertion. This week I want to show Christ’s humiliation by the world’s rejection of him.
It is humiliating when people reject us and want nothing to do with us. We naturally want people to like us and accept us.
Jesus also was humbled by the rejection of the world toward him.
Firstly we see that Isaiah prophesied that the Christ would be rejected. He said of God’s servant: ‘He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not’ (Isaiah 53:2-3). So Isaiah prophesies a total rejection of the Messiah.
And the prophecy of Isaiah did indeed come true. The apostle John sums up the rejection of Jesus with these words: ‘The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him’ (John 1:9-11). John notes that not only did the world not recognise Jesus, but even his own Jewish race rejected him.
It also doesn’t take much reading of the Biblical gospels to see instances of the world’s rejection of the Messiah. For example, in John 6 Jesus teaches the importance of accepting his flesh and blood for eternal life. We then read the response of his disciples: ‘On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him’ (Joh 6:60-66).
So why would Jesus humble himself in this way? Because of our sin we deserve to be humiliated for eternity in hell. But thankfully Jesus takes the eternal humility we deserve so we can have eternal glory instead. This eternal glory comes by trusting that Jesus was humiliated for you, even by the world’s rejection of him.
Do you trust in Christ’s humiliation for you so that you will have eternal glory in heaven?